A quick look at the Fujifilm X-T30
Thanks to Leo’s Camera Supply in Vancouver for making the Fujifilm X-T30 available to me for my review. I was able to try it for a few hours during one of my workshops. A participant in my workshop had just purchased the X-T30 and wanted to learn more about the settings. This was a great excuse for me to get more familiar with this camera.
When the X-T10 was released in May of 2015 it was a welcomed addition to the X-Series family as the smaller sibling to the X-T1, packing a decent punch and good looks. This has pretty much been the formula for the X-T10, X-T20 and X-T30 series ever since. The X-T20 came along in January of 2017 and I purchased a copy of the X-T20 in May of 2017 as a back up to my X-Pro2 and dedicated the camera to video. The video specs were improved to 4K at 30 fps. Affordability has been key and the cameras have featured impressive specs, only slightly disadvantaged to the X-T1, X-T2 and X-T3 cameras.
Handling the Fujifilm X-T30
The first thing I noticed was the missing D-pad on the back of the camera, a first for me with the Fuji X-Series. Navigation of menus and selection of focus points are now done with the joystick. I was surprised how quickly I adjusted to this and could not believe I did not actually miss the D-Pad. My workshop participant, however, quite often and inadvertently hit the joystick and moved the focus point to the side of the focusing area. The body feels solid and the texture of the rubber on the back assures you have a good grip on the camera. I tested it with an XF 35mm f/2 R WR. This size lens is ideal for the smaller X-T30 body and I believe any of the f/2 primes would thrive nicely on the X-T30. I think the larger primes and zoom lenses in the X-Series would be disproportionate to the X-T30. Space is somewhat limited for function buttons. I found the fn button by the shutter release a bit hard to get to. The diopter dial and view mode selectors are well placed by the EVF and I did not have any issues bumping them out of place. The SD card slot is placed on the bottom of the camera beside the battery. I prefer the side of the camera for this but space constraints must have made this impossible.
Fujifilm X-T30 In Action
Coming from an X-Pro2 and X-H1 you instantly notice the smaller EVF but again it was amazing how quickly I adapted to the X-T30. I found it a joy to shoot with. It has a pronounced shutter sound which I liked. I found autofocus speed more than adequate. We were doing street photography and I didn’t really push the camera to its limits. The X-T30 shoots up to 8 fps or 20 fps. with the electronic shutter and shares the impressive AF features with the X-T3.
Comparing the X-T30 to the X-T3
I tested the X-T3 a couple of weeks ago and would almost say that I got on with the X-T30 better from the get-go. Perhaps it has something to do with expectations and price point. The X-T30 felt better in my hand and paired with the XF 35 f/2 R it felt snappy and very capable. The X-T30 weighs in at 383g and the X-T3 at 539g. Weight and size differences are significant but they both fall into the smaller spectrum of cameras in my mind. You could carry either camera for a full day of shooting and not feel much of a difference. The cameras are targeted at different audiences and although they share the same 26.2 megapixel sensor and Quad-Core X Processor 4, it would be a mistake not to point out some of the most significant differences. First of all price point; At the time this post was written the X-T30 retails at CAD$ 1199.00 and the X-T3 at 1899.00. The overall built quality is certainly better for the X-T3. It feels more rugged, has a designated ISO dial, and is weather-sealed whereas the X-T30 is not. The X-T3 has dual card slots. Important if you are a pro shooter. The X-T3 has a deeper grip and you can mount a vertical grip for added battery life, and handling of the larger primes and zoom lenses will be much improved.
Fujifilm X-T30 Image Quality
The X-T30 shares the new X-Trans IV 26.2 megapixel sensor with the X-T3. On paper, this is as good as gets for APS-C sensors at this point in time. When I tested the X-T3 a couple of weeks ago I was not sure if I really liked the look of the new files. I would have to say with this second round of testing of the X-Trans IV sensor, I am warming up to it. I would like to stress this was a limited test and this time I decided to edit the files in Lightroom instead of Capture One Express.
Fujifilm X-T30 Conclusion
As a travel camera, this would be an ideal choice due to the small size, lightweight and affordable price point. It does lack a few of the bells and whistles offered on the X-T3 but you are saving CAD$ 700.00, which could be put toward a nice f/2 prime lens. The camera has an impressive feature set including top-notch autofocus, the latest X-Trans IV sensor and a more than adequate 8 fps. shooting rate. As an enthusiast or beginner, this camera should be a very attractive option. If you are a pro shooter and demand more of your gear it gets more complicated. I had to return my X-T20 after only a week as the shutter failed. I returned the camera and received a full refund. This could happen to any camera and perhaps it is not fair to fault the X-T20 as a whole. This incident, however, gave me a chance to pause and I decided not to get another X-T20 at the time as I realized the demands I have call for a more rugged camera. I use my camera on a daily basis and I appreciate the better-built quality. When headed out in the rain, snow or for a hike in dry dusty conditions it is good to know the camera is weather-sealed. Although I initially got along better with the X-T30 out of the gate, I would probably still pick the X-T3 given the choice between the two.
Below are a few sample images taken on a cloudy early fall day in Vancouver. Processed with Adobe Lightroom. Some images are slightly cropped and on some of the images I have used Fuji’s film simulations, such as Classic Chrome and Acros.
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Fujifilm X-T30 w/ XF 35mm f/2 R WR - B&H Photo